Author: Adamson Rust

Dell prepares enterprise tablet with mobile services portfolio

Dell has announced a line-up of mobile business services in anticipation of the release of its upcoming business tablet.

Then Enterprise Mobility Services portfolio consists of strategic consulting, mobile device management, telecom expense management, custom application development, mobile enterprise application platform, and security and compliance.

The services include hardware, software, data centre storage, and communications technology, all of which are designed to lower costs, improve work efficiency and address security concerns, the latter of which is vital for the enterprise market.

Dell will support multiple carriers, vendors and platforms with the service and will provide a particular focus on smartphones and tablets, especially with its custom application development, which should cater for a variety of mobile operating systems.

Dell is working on a rival tablet to RIM’s PlayBook, which is expected to use an Intel Oak Trail Atom processor. Not much else is known about it other than it touting a 10-inch screen, but it’s likely many of these enterprise services will be offered with it.

Initially Dell’s Enterprise Mobility Services will only be available in North America and the UK, but there are plans to expand to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Asia Pacific and Japan.

CSR announces CSR8600 wireless consumer audio platform

Wireless chip firm CSR has announced the CSR8600 wireless consumer audio platform, which it claims will offer superior high-fidelity audio quality for integrated system-on-chip devices.

The CSR8600 platform packs a small form factor and a high performance audio processing enegine, with flexible memory architecture for internal flash memory or ROM, while also supporting external serial flash memory.

Low power consumption and power efficiency are key features of the platform, thanks to its ultra-low-power DSP architecture, power supply subsystem, efficient memory system, and a reduction in process node geometry. Add in multiple switching power supplies, low drop-out regulators and a new battery charger architecture and it promises to be super efficient.

It will support advanced and low energy Bluetooth, as well as CSR’s aptX audio technology, which provides high-fidelity stereo over low latencies. Clear Voice Capture is also supported, allowing for acoustic echo and noise cancellation.

CSR intends to introduce a range of integrated single-chip products that will make use of the new platform, including next-generation TVs, connected home entertainment systems, wired and wireless speaks, tablets, PCs and mobile connectivity applications.

The CSR8600 platform will also be backwards compatible with the CSR BlueCore5-Multimedia platform, which will allow users of CSR eXtension products to switch to the new platform more easily.

Samples of the product are currently being offered to large customers and it will be available for retail towards the middle of 2011.

Brows furrowed on Apple universal phone charger stance

The universal mobile phone charger that was agreed in Europe is nearing completion, with a sample already in production, but Apple could be an obstacle to its deployment.

The idea behind the charger was that a single form used by all phone companies would be more environmentally-friendly by eliminating the need for a new charger for every phone purchase, while also reducing the necessary packaging for phones. It could also lower costs and drive phone prices down.

The universal charger will use a micro-USB connection, which is standard in many modern phones. 14 companies agreed to the initiative last year and many of them, such as Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, are now using micro-USB ports.

Apple, on the other hand, is not, which could cause some problems. Apple has long been using proprietary connections, which forces consumers to buy Apple peripherals and replacement chargers.

The initiative does not require a full switch to micro-USB, but it does ask that adaptors be provided so that micro-USB chargers can be used. It’s a less elegant choice than simply changing the port, but it’s more likely to meet with approval by companies still clinging to proprietary connections. Apple promised to implement this approach.

Apple told ZDNet that it is committed to using its proprietary dock connectors and that it was not required to change that. It was tight-lipped about the adaptors, however, which could mean it’s having second thoughts about an introduction.

Microsoft appoints Satya Nadella to head up cloud division

Microsoft has appointed Satya Nadella as the replacement for Bob Muglia for the company’s server and tools business, which is focusing on cloud computing.

Nadella is an engineer from Microsoft’s Online Services business and has been with the company for 19 years, only a few years less than the 23 that Muglia laid claim to. At the time of removing Muglia as head of the department, CEO Steve Ballmer said that new leadership was needed to help the company dominate the cloud market.

The division is worth $15 billion and is a major bet for Microsoft, but with studies indicating that the cloud market, both public and private, will boom over the next few years, it’s a much safer bet than some recent decisions. Not mentioning the Kin.

The cloud is such a big deal to Microsoft that it has already switched much of its internal services to run on the cloud. It also forecasts that within three to five years at least 80 percent of the company’s applications will run on the cloud, according to Total Telecom.

Muglia will aid Nadella in his position while the transition takes place. Nadella already has some cloud experience from his previous position, where he helped oversee the technical strategy of the company’s cloud network, which covers search, portal and advertising.

Despite talk of a management shake-up which is expected this month, the fact that Ballmer appointed a veteran to the cloud position arguably means he is unwilling to bring in flesh blood for the top positions. He did promise to use engineers to replace key positions.

Investors want to see Microsoft pay more attention to its cloud, smartphone and tablet markets. Ballmer has received a lot of criticism from all flanks, but if this latest appointment pans out, some more cloud success could bring Microsoft back on track and dampen the waves of criticism.

ZTE launching cloud-based app store

Networking and telecommunications equipment manufacturer ZTE is to further its domination of the wireless world with the launch of a cloud-based app store called iMarket at the Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona next week.

The Chinese firm is attempting to ride the wave of cloud success by becoming a provider of applications through its cloud-based store, which will allow app creators to manage content online. The store will be open to a range of apps, from videos to games and animations to books.

iMarket, a name which sounds remarkably like a clunky Apple, will work on a wide range of devices, including PCs, smartphones and tablets. The apps can be used online or downloaded for offline use.

The store will launch with tens of thousands of apps, which ZTE claims are “already available”. ZTE will be coordinator and collector, offering platform deployment, operation consultancy and software applications, but it appears that app makers have more freedom in how they distribute their apps on the iMarket than on rival stores.

The iMarket is already in use with corporate partner China Unicom. ZTE expects it to take off big time in the small to medium business sector. Rivals may need to watch their backs as the growing Chinese giant stomps in.

Our suggestions for the leadership roles at AMD

AMD is still keeping mum about who will replace Dirk Meyer, which rhymes with Marty Seyer, and Robert Rivet – which rhymes with privet.

Meyer was the leader of the team that produced the DEC Alpha processor – a chip that is supposed to be unbeatable until 2025.  Seyer was in charge of AMD strategy. Rivet was in charge of administration.

Goodness knows what the remaining senior and middle rank suits think about the AMD barque, adrift and rudderless in an ocean of unknowing.

Here are TechEye’s suggestions for people to replace this team. They would all fit perfectly into AMD’s carefully thought out future.

For CEO, they should yank Jerry Sanders III out of retirement. For administration, who better than Mark Hurd – poach him from Oracle for crying out loud. And for strategy, pull in Scott McNealy, Carly Fiorina and Frank Zappa.

Hello there! Perhaps GlobalFoundries should buy AMD back, backed with money from Abu Dhabi?

Unemployment affecting access to computers on UK

A recent information request by a UK politician, Chris Ruane, revealed that the majority of UK households have computers, but that unemployment and low wages are still preventing many from gaining access to a PC.

The Director General of the Office of National Statistics revealed estimate figures of UK households with computers, based on an annual National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification survey of roughly 5,000 houses throughout the country.

Of 25.98 million households, 19.58 million have a computer, which means a rate of roughly 80 percent.

Larger employers and managers mostly had computers, 1.16 million out of 1.2 million. Higher professionals were similarly high, with 1.68 million out of 1.7 million. Lower ranking managers and professionals mostly had computers, but less than the others at 4.63 million out of 4.9 million.

As wages drop the number of households with computers also drops. Only 1.37 million of 1.52 million ntermediate working households had computers. Lower supervisory staff were at 1.53 million of 1.74 million. Semi routine workers were even lower at 1.64 million of 1.99 million and routine staff were 1.17 million of 1.47 million.

The long-term unemployed, including those who have never worked, tend not to have as much access to computers due to their financial difficulty. Of 510,000 only 330,000 unemployed households had a computer.

For those with no occupation stated, including those who are “economically inactive”, less than half had a computer, only 4.38 million of a total of nine million.

Most students have computers, 430,000 out of 470,000.

Economic difficulties have a clear impact on people’s access to modern technology, but without this access it makes it much more difficult for those people to improve their financial situation, given the dependence of modern work forces on basic and advanced computer skills.

MSI HydroGen GPU, TI mobile CPU, Mini-ITX cases

MSI has announced the N580GTX HydroGen graphics card, which comes with an all copper waterblock for extra cooling ability, according to HardwareBistro. MSI claims its HydroGen technology can lower card temperatures by up to 24 degrees Celsius, which allows for additional overclocking with the Afterburner software and increased GPU voltage. It also touts solid capacitors for extra longevity.

The Patriot Viper Xtreme Division 2 PC3-15000 8GB RAM Kit was reviewed at TweakTown, earning a rating of 90 percent and an Editor’s Choice award. The 1866MHz speed isn’t amazing, but it isn’t paltry either, and with a price tag of $139.99 it’s similar value to a 4GB 2133MHz speed kit. Trading speed for extra RAM is a tough one, but there’s probably more bang for buck in this kit than similar priced ones.

HotHardware brings news of Texas Instrument’s OMAP 5 mobile platform, the latest CPU offering from TI. It boasts a three times boost in performance and a five times boost in 3D graphics capability, while also being 60 percent more efficient. It’s powered by two ARM Cortex-A15 mobile processor cores, boasting speeds of up to 2GHz, a 50 percent increase on the Cortex-A9 core used in older models.

Tom’sHardware compared five Mini-ITX cases, the SK 310-150, Chieftec BT-02B, Lian Li PC-Q08, Luxa2 LM100 Mini and SilverStone SG05. The Chieftec model won out on value, even though it’s not the prettiest of cases and lacks some configuration flexibility. The Luxa2 case rated higher for multimedia enthusiasts with a bit more money to spare, but its display may be a little on the small side, given the compact case sizes.

The Gainward GeForce GTX 560 Ti Phantom 2 graphics card was reviewed at HardwareHeaven, earning a Silver Award. It comes with a small factory overclock, which wasn’t considered enough, but its performance was still strong, while cooling and noise levels are good. One of its strongest points is its compact PCB. It also packs 3D Vision, PhysX, Direct11 and plenty of other features, but with the lack of a bundled game or HDMI, it rates lower on the value front. 

Mobile device sales boomed in 2010

Global sales of mobile devices in 2010, particularly smartphones, were up considerably in 2010 according to the latest report by market research firm Gartner.

Mobile device sales were at 1.6 billion units last year, up 31.8 percent on 2009, while smartphone sales were up a massive 72.1 percent on the year prior, making up 19 percent of total mobile device sales.

The fourth quarter of 2010 saw a particularly large rise of 32.7 percent in mobile phone sales, totalling 452 million units.

Despite the high sales, a shortage of components, such as camera modules, touchscreen controllers and AMOLED panels, affected output in the final quarter of 2010 and is expected to impact on production for the first half of 2011.

Gartner also found that more people are buying legitimate models rather than using the black market. White box sales were at 115 million units for the fourth quarter and 360 million for the entire year.

Nokia still rules the mobile device market, with a market share of 28.9 percent, but this is a drop from its previous share of 36.4 percent in 2009. Samsung and LG, with the second and third highest market shares, also dropped from 19.5 percent to 17.6 percent and 10.1 percent to 7.1 percent respectively. 

RIM increased its share slightly from 2.8 percent to three percent, while Apple jumped from 2.1 percent to 2.9 percent. Motorola dropped from 4.8 percent to 2.4 percent, while Sony Ericsson also dropped from 4.5 percent to 2.9 percent. A main Android supporter, HTC, increased its share from 0.9 percent to 1.5 percent.

The Symbian OS still accounts for the largest share of devices at 37.6 percent, but this is down from 46.9 percent on 2009. Android is in second place at 22.7 percent, a sharp increase from only 3.9 percent the year previous. RIM’s BlackBerry OS was down from 19.9 percent to 16 percent, while Apple’s iOS saw slight growth from 14.4 percent to 15.7 percent. Despite launching Windows Phone 7, Microsoft saw a drop in market share from 8.7 percent to 4.2 percent.

Spammers capitalise on Ireland's unemployment rate

One of Ireland’s largest job websites,, has been hacked and user details seized.

At 1.50pm yesterday afternoon the website managers of the recruitment site were alerted to the breach. They shut down the website and database ten minutes later and reported the incident to the Gardaí and the Data Protection Commissioner. It is also being investigated internally by RecruitIreland and externally by a security expert.

It was revealed that certain user details were compromised in the attack, including first and last names along with email addresses. It is not believed any other information was obtained, such as CVs, usernames or passwords.

However, the data that was obtained can easily be used for spam and there have already been reports of such. The spam messages use the full name of the individual and present a fake job opportunity. RecruitIreland has urged users to take extra care and not respond to such messages if they manage to escape the anti-spam filter. It is believed that acquiring data for spam was the sole purpose of the attack.

More and more people are using these kinds of websites in Ireland as the unemployment rate remains considerably high at 13.4 percent, according to recent figures for January by the Central Statistics Office. This is a sharp increase from the rate of 4.4 percent five years ago in the heart of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economic boom.

This attack is the latest in a string of website hacks and data breaches in Ireland. The website of one of the main political parties, Fine Gael, was hacked by Anonymous, while a Northern Ireland political party website was hacked by an Irish language activist. Laptops have also been stolen from the Irish tax office and the Irish government is being investigated for sending unsolicited emails

With an election at the end of February, it doesn’t look like these problems will go away any time soon.